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Preview: American Vampire Anthology #2

American Vampire Anthology #2

Written by: Various
Cover by: Rafael Albuquerque
Illustrator Various

This special features nine amazing stories set in the world of AMERICAN VAMPIRE, with lost tales, new characters and old favorites. Series creators Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque will be joined by other amazing creators such as Kieron Gillen (The Wicked and Divine), Steve Orlando (MIDNIGHTER), Marguerite Bennett (DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS), Elliot Kalan (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), Joëlle Jones (Lady Killer), Clay McLeod Chapman (Storage Space), and many more!


The Rise And Fall Of Horror Comics

Source: wikipedia

Horror comics have had it rough.

For a few years they were at the forefront of the comic book industry, pushing the envelope with the stories they told, and influencing some of the most recognizable names in horror over the past five decades. From the late 40’s to the mid 50’s, horror comics essentially printed money for their publishers.

It would not, it could not, last.

There is some debate as to the first horror comic; Prize Comics #7 began an eight page feature adapting Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein,  causing some to label it as the first true horror series. There were other adaptations during the early to  mid 40’s, one of which was Gilberton Publications Classic Comics #13. Printing a full adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Classic Comics #13 is the earliest known comic book dedicated purely to horror.

Comic book cover shows a bald, robed man moving toward a frightened woman on the floor in a strapless dress. Her hands and feet are bound. Price of the comic is listed as 10 cents.

Source: wikipedia

However the first horror comic with original content is widely recognized as Eerie Comics #1, by Avon Publications cover dated January of 1947 (but the comic was actually published at the tail end of 1946). This volume of Eerie Comics never had a second issue, but it was relaunched in 1951.

Horror comics enjoyed some popularity on the newsstands, but it wasn’t until 1950 when EC Comics came on the scene that the genre really exploded with EC’s “trifecta of terror”: The Haunt of Fear, The Vault of Horror, and Crypt of Terror – which later became Tales from the Crypt.

The stories in the above comics, and the others that would follow, are bloody, gory, gruesome, macabre, sinister, and, at times, silly. They were truly horrific comics, but for some they were absolutely wonderful, and their influence on game-changing artists and writers can’t be overstated. Stephen King and George Romero, both hugely influential men on their own, created the film Creepshow as a love letter to the comics that influenced them as children. Alan Moore, one of the most acclaimed comic book writers of the past few decades, has a character reading an EC Comics-like story at a newsstand throughout the main story of Watchmen. Years later, HBO would develop a very successful anthology television show that ran from 1989 to 1996 based on the content of many EC stories published in during the 50’s, turning the Cryptkeeper into a household name.

But the golden age of horror comics of the early to mid 50’s would not last.

With the fallout from Fredric Wertham‘s book Seduction of the Innocent, and the Comics Code Authority (CCA) that resulted, horror comics, hit hard than any other genre, were virtually wiped out over night. Jobs were lost, publishers nearly went out of business, and the face of comics changed forever. Horror comics were everywhere, until suddenly they weren’t.

To say horror comics vanished over night isn’t strictly accurate. The essence of the comics stayed alive despite the CCA’s best efforts. James Warren of Warren Publishing would produce black and white horror comics, but published as a magazine, they were exempt from the CCA’s rules. By publishing these stories in a magazine format, Warren paved the way for other publishers to produce horror comics magazines.

Horror comics, like any good villain, wouldn’t stay down forever.

Although the Comics Code Authority spelled the end of horror comics for many years, we are currently experiencing a resurgence in horror comics – in a large part, perhaps, because the CCA has been entirely abandoned by publishers. The  old EC Comics, those classically macabre stories that are finally making their way into reprinted volumes that for fans of the genre are an unparalleled look into the past. Modern comic books like The Walking Dead, American Vampire, and 30 Days of Night are only a handful of the titles that are carrying the torch of influence that can traced back to the golden age of horror of the early 50’s.

While perhaps not as popular as they were 60 years ago, when they accounted for almost a quarter of all comics published, horror comics have been making a steady return to prominence in the comic book world.

That’s not a bad thing.

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Review: American Vampire Anthology #1

AV_ANTHOLOGY_CVRfinal_stwjb2o9tn_You are cordially invited to a party—to die for! American Vampire Anthology features eight amazing stories set in the world of American Vampire, with “lost tales,” new characters and old favorites. The list of creators is impressive and long. But, with so much talent, could this be pulled off? And could it be pulled with a high quality narrative that ties into the mythos that Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque have built? The answer is a resounding yes.

Each individual involved in this release is immensely talented on their own and together they not only entertain, but are able to flesh out the world that’s been set up for all these years, even filling in some gaps for characters.

And that’s what’s amazing about this issue. It can entertain with short stories set in the world of American Vampire, but also adds so much for those of us who have been reading since the beginning. It also shows that should Snyder or Albuquerque decide to pass on the series, that they have a long list of contributors that can do it justice.

There isn’t one entry here that falters at all. There’s not one misstep at all. The entries are all about even, with fantastic stories and amazing art. It’s beyond a complete package showing off the strength of the anthology and the issue makes the case for its inclusion as best “one-shot” or “anthology” when the end of year awards come around.

I could go on and on gushing about the comic, because it’s that dame good. This is a release that’s a solid for new readers as it is for long time fans and even though the issue boasts a hefty price tag, that’s worth the talent and quality with in.

The only negative I can say about this is, it reminds me how much I’ve missed my monthly American Vampire fix. Though if I can get more quality releases like this while I wait, I might be filled with bloody goodness.

Story: Scott Snyder, Jeff Lemire, Greg Rucka, Gail Simone, Gabriel Ba, Fabio Moon, Jason Aaron, Rafael Albuquerque, Becky Cloonan, Francesco Francavilla Art: Becky Cloonan, Rafael Albuquerque, Jeff Lemire, Gabriel Ba, Fabio Moon, Francesco Francavilla, Declan Shalvey, Ivo Milazzo, Ray Fawkes, Tula Lotay, JP Leon
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Pick(s) of the Week: American Vampire Anthology #1 and a Bunch More!

AV_ANTHOLOGY_CVRfinal_stwjb2o9tn_There’s a hell of a lot of solid comics out this week, but none fill a fix like American Vampire Anthology #1. American Vampire has been on hiatus for a bit while writer Scott Snyder releases some awesome other comics (*cough* The Wake *cough*). So, to get a chance to get a bit of the mythos, even as an anthology, is quite ok with us.

This special features eight amazing stories set in the world of American Vampire, with “lost tales,” new characters and old favorites. So, don’t miss these stories brought to you by series creators Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque, as well as other awesome comics talent like Becky Cloonan, Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, Jeff Lemire, Greg Rucka, Gail Simone and many more!

You are cordially invited to a party—to die for!

Catch our full list of picks below!


Top Pick: King Conan: The Hour of the Dragon #4 (Dark Horse) – Conan claws his way from the depths to regain his throne. The inside is as good as the outside’s award-worthy cover art, trust me.

Miss Fury #5 (Dynamite) – There’s something about a seductive billionaire heiress with super powers who battles time traveling nazis that keeps me coming back for more. Can’t quite put my finger on it…

Overtaken #1 (Aspen) – Most Aspen series, much to my dismay, have the same look and feel to me, but this newest one appears different from the rest. While the abducted loved one is a familiar story, I’m anxious to see their take on it.

Uncanny #3 (Dynamite) – The god-awful cover aside, Andy Diggle’s thief-with-powers crime story is a great read, and it’s not too late to start from the beginning.


Top Pick: American Vampire Anthology (Vertigo) – See above as to why I think this’ll be awesome and well worth the price tag.

The Massive #15 (Dark Horse) – Brian Wood continues to knock it out of the park with each issue and somehow the series is only getting better.

Occupy Comics #3 (Black Mask Studios) – Politics = comics = awesome. So much talent packed into one issue.

Overtaken #1 (Aspen) – The $1 price tag should be enough of a reason to pick it up, but Aspen is giving us what seems to be an interesting story about possible abduction by aliens.

Uncanny #3 (Dynamite) – Super powers + crime = this. The first two issues were intriguing and the third really starts to ramp up the storyline and give us an idea as to where it’s going next.


Top Pick: American Vampire Anthology #1 (Vertigo) – I love this series and it’s been torture waiting for it to come back, but this anthology written and illustrated by an amazing list of creators should be a phenomenal way to ease back into the AV world.

Lazarus #3 (Image) – After last month’s excellent world building issue, I can’t wait for this arc to pick up some steam. Plus, we get to meet another Lazarus, and the dynamic between he and Faith should be fascinating.


Top Pick: Batman/Superman #3 (DC Comics) – This has been an incredible, confusing book so far. And, hot damn, what’s Wonder Woman doing?!

Batman, Inc. Special #1 (DC Comics) – With the end of Grant Morrison’s famed and infamous run on Batman, it’s time to see where other writers will take these characters…including Bat-Cow!

Larfleeze #3 (DC Comics) – Keith Giffen is one of my favorite writers, and Larfleeze is funny as hell. If you like Douglas Adams or funny sci-fi, you’ll want to check this out!

Vertigo Announces 6 New Titles

Vertigo Comics has confirmed that American Vampire will be returning this December, but also announced the following all-new, bold, and exciting series:

  • Hinterkind – Decades after “The Blight” all but wiped out the human race, Mother Nature is taking back what’s hers and she’s not alone … all the creatures of myth and legend have returned and they’re not happy. After her grandfather disappears, Prosper Monday must leave the security and seclusion of her Central Park village to venture into the wilds to find him, unaware of how much the world has changed. An epic fantasy adventure set in a post-apocalyptic world, Hinterkind is written by Ian Edginton and illustrated by Francesco Trifogli, and debuts this October.
  • The Discipline – Launching this December, The Discipline is a dark, erotic thriller about a privileged young woman named Melissa who is thrust into a centuries old battle between good and evil. She begins an affair with a mysterious man named Orlando who opens her eyes to a sexually sinister world she never knew existed. Through this ritualistic seduction (“The Discipline”), Orlando unlocks Melissa’s inner power and then enlists her into a shadowy war that has been fought for centuries. The Discipline comes to you from writer Peter Milligan and artist Leo Fernandez.
  • Dead Boy Detectives – Spinning out of the pages of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, two dead British school boys star in their own monthly series and solve crimes in the 21st century with the help of a new female accomplice. Premiering in November, Dead Boy Detectives is written by noted British novelist Toby Litt with layouts and painted covers by Mark Buckingham.
  • Suiciders – Hitting the spinner rack this December, this new series marks the incomparable Lee Bermejo’s debut as an ongoing series comic book writer and artist. Suiciders follows the lies of two futuristic boxers – one on top of the world, the other trying to fight (and kill) his way there. Set in Los Angeles after “The Big One,” “Suiciders” is the wildly popular reality sport that contestants are literally dying to be a part of … and to be the best, you have to murder the best.
  • Coffin Hill – When she was 15, Eve Coffin summoned a darkness that had been buried since the Salem Witch Trials. Now Eve’s back to harness the evil that destroyed her friends and is slowly taking over the sleepy town of Coffin Hill. This is a series full of magic, madness and murder via a twisted family of New Englanders. Arriving in stores this October, Coffin Hill combines the talents of artist Inaki Miranda with writer Caitlin Kittredge, a young, dark fantasy author whose writing includes the Nocturne City, the Black London, and the Iron Codex series of novels – which include the recently published titles Dark Days and The Mirrored Shard.
  • The Witching Hour – Just in time for Halloween, this anthology-style one-shot collects short stories exploring witchcraft written and drawn by some of the most talented veterans and newcomers in the business – including Kelly Sue DeConnick, Cliff Chiang, Lauren Beukes, Emily Carroll, Matthew Sturges, Shawn McManus, Tula Lotay and many more.

And of course, how could you talk about all of the exciting projects on Vertigo’s plate in 2013 without discussing the highly anticipated Sandman prequel miniseries from writer Neil Gaiman and artist J.H. Williams III?

The Sandman: Overture will officially launch on October 30. The miniseries will be published every other month, with a special, oversized issue (including interviews, rare artwork, and more) hitting stands in between the release of each new issue.

COFFIN_Cv1 DBD.PROMO HINT_Cv1 SNDM_Cv1 SNDM_Promo witchinghour

Review: American Vampire: The Long Road to Hell #1

AM_VAMP_LONG_ROAD_1_6yys247zog_Fan-favorite character Travis Kidd—the vampire hunter who likes to “bite them back”—makes his return in this new American Vampire one-shot, American Vampire: The Long Road to Hell.

It’s a story burned deep into the American psyche: two young lovers, a stolen car and the open road. But these young lovers are newly turned vampires trying to fight the bloodsucking urge inside them. To make matters worse, they’ve got a pack of angry vampires on their tails—plus bad-ass vamp-killer Travis Kidd. He’s tracking the “Heartbreak Killers” across the heartland, but can he stop them before it all ends in tragedy?

Though it had a slow start, I quickly became a fan of Scott Snyder’s American Vampire. The horror story taking place at different points in American history presented a vampire mythos that was fun and fresh. It felt familiar, but also new and exciting.

Moving throughout history, the series eventually introduced Travis Kidd, a greaser vampire hunter in the 1950s. He’s the rebel with a cause and quickly became one of my favorite characters of the series.

This one-shot, after a too long break, doesn’t feature Kidd at first. Instead it follows two young lovers on the run to find a cure after being turned. Kidd eventually comes along to put the spike into the story. It’s a full story all in one and you might only need to know a little of what’s come before though it isn’t vital.

This one-shot special sets the stage for the American Vampire relaunch later this year, making it even more important for fans of the series. We’ve had a hiatus and to get anything new in this series is more than welcome. The fact this is setting the stage for what’s to come makes it that more important.

We have Snyder’s solid writing, joined by Rafael Albuquerque who also adds his artistic talents as well as to the story. Albuquerque is one of my favorite artists currently out there and to see his work alone makes me want to recommend the comic.

If you’ve enjoyed what’s come before in the series, this is a buy. For those who enjoy vampire comics, this is a good spot to check out and see if it’s for you. I’ve been in withdrawal and this is the hit I’ve needed.

Story: Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque Art: Rafael Albuquerque
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Vertigo provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Vertigo Announces American Vampire: The Long Road to Hell and the Sandman Omnibus Vol. 1

Today Vertigo announced that vampire hunter Travis Kidd makes his return in American Vampire: The Long Road To Hell #1. This oversized special issue is co-written by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque with art and cover by series artist Albuquerque and a variant cover by Tony Moore. This is Albuquerque’s first time writing for Vertigo.

 American Vampire: The Long Road To Hell arrives on June 12.

Also, to prepare folks for the return of The Sandman this fall, Vertigo will be publishing The Sandman Omnibus Volume 1.

This massive hardcover collects The Sandman issues #1-37 and The Sandman Special #1—the first half of Neil Gaiman’s highly acclaimed classic horror comic book series.

The Sandman Omnibus Vol. 1 arrives August 21st.

AM_VAMP_LONG_ROAD_11 Sandman Omnibus Vol 1

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The weekend is almost here, have you recovered from the holidays yet? I know I haven’t….

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IGN – Smallville’s Michael Rosenbaum Up for Guardians of the Galaxy Seriously, are actors just wracking up publishers and comic properties?

The following is all new to me and tied together, to it all I say wtf!?

Kotaku – This Vendetta Against a Popular Japanese Comic Is Utterly Terrifying

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Did you go to the comic shop yesterday? If so, what’d you get?

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The Beat – Mark Waid on the true cost of digital This fact seems like common sense.

The Mary Sue – Joseph Gordon-Levitt May be Branching Out of the DC Universe to Guardians of the GalaxyIs this the new thing in Hollywood? How many comic franchises or publishers you can act in or for?

GamePolitics – Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Takes Aim at Senator Jay Rockefeller’s Video Games ‘Research’ Bill – Great to see some push back.

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